Edith "Edie" Falco (/ˈiːdi ˈfælkoʊ/; born July 5, 1963) is an American television, film, and stage actress, known for her roles as Diane Whittlesey in the HBO series Oz (1997–2000), as Carmela Soprano on the HBO series The Sopranos (1999–2007), and as the titular character of the Showtime series Nurse Jackie (2009–2015).
Early life and education
Falco was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Judith Anderson, an actress, and Frank Falco, a jazz drummer who later worked for an advertising agency. Her father was of Italian descent and her mother's ancestry was Swedish and English. Falco's siblings are Joseph, Paul and Ruth. Her uncle is novelist, playwright, and poet Edward Falco, an English professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
From the age of four she was raised on Long Island, moving with her family to Hicksville, followed by North Babylon, then West Islip. As a child she acted in plays at the Arena Players Repertory Theater in East Farmingdale, where her mother also performed.
Her family eventually moved to Northport, where she attended high school and played Eliza Doolittle in a production of My Fair Lady during her senior year. Falco graduated from Northport High School in 1981. She attended the acting program at SUNY Purchase, along with fellow actors Stanley Tucci and Ving Rhames. She graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting.
Early in her career, Falco made appearances on television shows like Law & Order and Homicide: Life on the Street. Tom Fontana, executive director of Homicide, cast Falco as Eva Thormann, the wife of an injured police officer, after watching Falco's performance in Laws of Gravity, a 1992 film directed by Nick Gomez. Fontana said of her, "She's an actress who's unadorned by any embroidery. She does everything with such simplicity and honesty, it's breathtaking." A struggling actress at the time, Falco said her salary from these television episodes paid for one month's worth of rent. Fontana cast Falco as a regular character, prison officer Diane Whittlesey, in his HBO series Oz based on her work in the Homicide episodes "Son of a Gun" and "A Shot in the Dark".
Her first big break in films was a small speaking role in the 1994 Woody Allen film Bullets over Broadway. Her friendship with former SUNY Purchase classmate Eric Mendelsohn, who was the assistant to Allen's costume designer, Jeffrey Kurland, helped her to be cast in the role. Mendelsohn would go on to direct Falco in his feature film Judy Berlin, for which he won "Best Director" honors at the Sundance Film Festival. Falco would go on to star in Mendelsohn's next film 3 Backyards, for which he won "Best Director" a second time. Mendelsohn is the only director to ever win this award twice.
Falco, The X-Files star Gillian Anderson, Ugly Betty star America Ferrera, and 30 Rock 's Tina Fey are the only actresses to have received a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a SAG Award in the same year. Falco won these awards in 2003 for her performance as Carmela during the fourth season of The Sopranos. Edie Falco’s character Carmela Soprano is praised in Kristyn Gorton's essay "Why I Love Carmela Soprano" for challenging Italian-American gender roles.
Edie has won four Emmys, two Golden Globes and five Screen Actors Guild Awards. Falco is the second actor to have won Emmys for lead acting in both a Drama and a Comedy series (the first actor to do so was Carroll O'Connor).
Falco has appeared in the films Trust, Reversal of Fortune, Cop Land, Private Parts (non-speaking part), Random Hearts, Freedomland, and John Sayles' Sunshine State, for which she received the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for "Best Supporting Actress". On Broadway, she appeared in the Tony Award-winning Side Man and in the revivals of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune opposite Stanley Tucci, and 'night, Mother opposite Brenda Blethyn. She has also appeared as a guest star on the television shows 30 Rock and Will & Grace.
She recently played the part of Bananas in the Broadway revival of House of Blue Leaves in New York City with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Jason Leigh, for which she received her first and only Tony Award nomination. It was announced in January 2013 that Falco would star in Liz Flahive's The Madrid Off-Broadway. The limited engagement, directed by Leigh Silverman, began previews on February 5 with an official opening February 26. Along with Falco, the play starred John Ellison, Christopher Evan Welch (who has since died), Phoebe Strole and Frances Sternhagen.
During the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Falco appeared in a 30-second television commercial on behalf of M.O.B. (Mothers Opposing Bush) in which she said "Mothers always put their children first. Mr. Bush, can you say the same?"
Records show that she donated $1,000 to John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, $300 to the Democratic National Committee in 2004, and two separate sums of $1,000 and $300 to Hillary Clinton in 2005.
Edie Falco has become the spokesperson for Health Care for America Now (HCAN) and appeared on CNN on June 25, 2009.
In 2003, Falco was diagnosed with breast cancer. She chose not to make the news public until the following year. Falco has had struggles with alcohol and decided to become sober sometime in the early 1990's after "one particular night of debauchery." She said in an interview that it was hard to be around the hard-partying cast of The Sopranos; "This cast in particular, they really love to hang out and party. They make it look like fun. And it was fun for me! They spend a lot more time without me than with me, by my own choice. I'm always invited, and I'm always there for two minutes and I leave, because I can't live in that world anymore. It's too dangerous." She is an advocate of Alcoholics Anonymous' 12-step program.
Falco adopted a son, Anderson, in 2005 and a daughter, Macy, in 2008.
In 2012, Falco was the subject of an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? which focused on her matrilineal descent from the daughter of a Cornish master mariner, from Penzance, who was born at sea and died in 1840.
In 2013, Falco teamed up with PETA in a public-service message urging parents to keep their children away from the circus.
|1987||Sweet Lorraine||Karen||Credited as Edith Falco|
|1989||The Unbelievable Truth||Jane – The Waitress|
|1989||Sidewalk Stories||Woman in Carriage|
|1991||I Was on Mars||Female Cab Driver|
|1992||Laws of Gravity||Denise||Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead|
|1992||Time Expired||Ginny||Short film|
|1994||Bullets over Broadway||Lorna|
|1996||The Funeral||Union Speaker|
|1997||Private Parts||Alison's Friend||Uncredited|
|1997||Cop Land||Berta (Bomb Squad Agent)|
|1997||Trouble on the Corner||Vivian Stewart|
|1997||Cost of Living||Billie||AFI Fest Award for Best Actress|
|1998||Blind Light||Diana DiBianco|
|1998||A Price Above Rubies||Feiga|
|1999||Judy Berlin||Judy Berlin|
|2000||Death of a Dog||Mom|
|2000||Overnight Sensation||Festival Coordinator|
|2002||Sunshine State||Marly Temple||Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated—Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress (3rd place)
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
|2004||Family of the Year|
|2005||The Girl from Monday||Judge|
|2005||The Great New Wonderful||Safarah Polsky||Segment: Emme's Story|
|2005||The Quiet||Olivia Deer|
|2013||Gods Behaving Badly||Artemis||Post-production|
|2016||Megan Leavey||Jackie Leavey||Filming|
|1996||The Sunshine Boys||TV Movie|
|1993–1997||Homicide: Life on the Street||Eva Thromann||Recurring Role
|1993–1998||Law & Order||Sally Bell||Recurring Role
|1995–1997||New York Undercover||Sgt. Kelly||Recurring Role
|1997–2000||Oz||Diane Whittlesey||Recurring Role
|1999–2007||The Sopranos||Carmela Soprano||Main Role
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1999, 2001, 2003)
AFI Award – Actor of the Year – Female – TV Series (2002)
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (2000, 2003)
Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (2002)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (1999, 2002, 2007)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (1999, 2007)
TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama (2003)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (2001–2002, 2005, 2007–2008)
Nominated—Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actress – Drama Series (2008)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (2000, 2004, 2007)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (2000–2001)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (2000–2001, 2004, 2006)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2000–2002, 2004, 2006)
Nominated—TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama (2001, 2004)
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Actress in a Quality Drama Series (2000)
|2000||The Sight||Ghost||TV Movie
|2001||Jenifer||Wheelchair Saleswoman||TV Movie|
|2004||Will & Grace||Deirdre||Episode: "East Side Story"|
|2007–2008||30 Rock||Celeste “C. C.” Cunningham||Recurring Role
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
|2009–2015||Nurse Jackie||Jackie Peyton||Main Role
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (2010)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (2010–2011, 2014–2015)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (2011–2015)
Nominated—Prism Award for Female Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline (2010, 2012)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (2009)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (2010)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (2010–2014)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2013)
|1998–1999||Side Man||Terry||Original play
Jun 25, 1998 – Oct 31, 1999
Theatre World Award
Nominated – Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play
|2002–2003||Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune||Frankie||Original play
Aug 8, 2002 – Mar 9, 2003
|2004–2005||'night, Mother||Jessie Cates||Revival play
Nov 14, 2004 – Jan 9, 2005
|2010||This Wide Night||Lorraine||Peter Jay Sharp Theater|
|2011||The House of Blue Leaves||Bananas Shaughnessy||Revival play
Apr 25, 2011 – Jun 25, 2011
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Nominated—Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play